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Archive for the ‘Social Studies’ Category

Many posts on mediateacher.net have dealt with the intersections of social studies and the documentation of lived experiences and historical events that are an intrinsic part of the evolving story and functions of motion picture media.  Each year continues to bring changes to uses and trends in media creation and transmission that produce and mark profound changes on societal trends and the roles of moving image production and comprehension throughout the world.  A year ago, mediateacher featured the post Telling History about grassroots examples of first person documentation of one’s times in the media literacy classroom and then shared subsequent pieces about the ongoing depiction of our tumultuous era for the United States and the world.

darnella frazierThis week, one of the most historically consequential examples of media creation in our time was rightfully noted as the initiating factor in the conviction rendered for the case of the murder of George Floyd.  Darnella Frazier was one of the bystanders at the scene of George Floyd’s death, and soon after she saw what was happening, she began recording it on her phone.  Journalist Rachel Triesman explains, “The 10-minute video she posted to Facebook has since been seen by millions and became a central piece of evidence in Chauvin’s trial.”  Since then, Frazier, 17 at the time of Floyd’s death, has been given an award for courage by PEN America, bestowed by filmmaker Spike Lee

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How did a character from Matt Furie’s comic Boy’s Club become one of the mega-memes to end all viral meme characters?  Yup, it’s Pepe the Frog.  Do you even know where Pepe comes from?  How he became a symbol of powerful forces of provocation and extremist alt-right political views today?  And what does its creator have to say about how this came to be and what he can do about it?

If interested, check out more info on the Sundance Award-winning documentary Feels Good Man. Director by Arthur Jones leads us on an investigation of the webverse that many of us, particularly today’s students, inhabit here and now.

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Numerous mediateacher posts have explored media literacy and its integral relationship to social studies in contemporary education, including Media Manipulation: An Ongoing Story, Media Literacy and Social Studies: Clash at Lincoln Memorial, Media Literacy and Social Studies: Portraits of America, and Infekted Minds. Currently, our tumultuous times bring us what seem to be daily examples of media messages intersecting with how events are actually playing out and the ways in which we process them. Here is a striking example of a video essay from the op-ed pages of the New York Times: The Bill of Rights, Revised. This can serve as a resource for classroom debate along with linked viewpoints and journalistic reporting from a range of online, print, video, and audio media resources.

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Students involved in producing media projects are telling their own stories, and at times these creations become historical artifacts. With the first pandemic in over a century spreading throughout the world, students are connecting to teachers, other students, and their learning through virtual interactions. By depicting a particular moment in time as it develops, we may end up capturing pieces of history and creating artifacts that becomes primary source documents. Here is one example of a project made recently by Hannah Schweitzer, one of my high school students. It is an example of the Portrait Project that is the primary video production exercise in Chapter 5 of Moving Images.

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As a new school year begins, here is a quick update on one of the most comprehensive and dynamic resource hubs for media literacy lessons and videos designed for elementary, middle, and high school learners: KQED Education.  In their “For Classrooms” section, teachers can find lesson plans for Humanities or STEM units, or Elementary media literacy education.  For professional development, educators are also encouraged to check out their coursework in KQED Teach and PBS Media Literacy Educators Certification. Some might want to go straight to the topical videos produced by PBS Digital Studios, check out the Above the Noise channel (or its previous incarnation, The Lowdown, with stories from 2018 and before, organized by theme).  And for those looking for an overall national resource from public media, here is the PBS Learning Media page, from which one can also search for links to local stations and related resources.

Update 2020: An election year is here, and a special Youth Media Challenge has been set up for educators and students.  Check it out!

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